Novice breeder checklist

Novice Breeder Checklist © Lauryn Jewkes

If you are contemplating dog breeding, there are certain questions that you will need to ask yourself before proceeding:

  • Have I the time to devote to a litter until the puppies are old enough to go to their new homes, which is usually around eight weeks?
  • Am I knowledgeable enough to advise new owners about the various aspects of caring for their puppies, including rearing, diet, training and health problems?
  • Can I afford to pay for the recommended health tests for the bitch prior to mating her and, where necessary, her litter?
  • Do I know enough to help the bitch during the whelping, if necessary?
  • Can I afford to pay for a caesarean should the dam have difficulty whelping the litter?
  • Could I cope with a very large litter e.g 10 or 12 puppies?
  • Do I have sufficient knowledge to rear the litter correctly, including on worming, vaccinations and socialisation?
  • Would I be able to find good homes for the puppies?
  • Am I in a position to take back or re-home any puppies if it becomes necessary?

If you have not been able to say yes to all of the above questions, then dog breeding may not be for you. You may therefore wish to consider having your bitch spayed to prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancies; your breed club or the breeder of your bitch may be able to provide you with further expert advice.

If you have been able to say yes to all of the above questions, do not forget that you will also need to keep the following in mind:

  • Responsible dog breeders believe that each litter that they breed, should be an improvement on the parents.
  • Responsible dog breeders give careful consideration to health issues, temperament and soundness.
  • Responsible dog breeders plan ahead of each mating so as to ensure that each puppy produced will be bred in the best possible environment.
  • Responsible dog breeders accept responsibility for a puppy which they have bred, and make themselves available to give advice, help and information to new owners.

Join the Kennel Club Academy

Kennel Club General Code of Ethics

All breeders who register their puppies, and new owners who register ownership of their dogs with the Kennel Club, accept the jurisdiction of the Kennel Club and undertake to abide by its general Code of Ethics.

Below is a list of important factors you should think about when considering breeding from your bitch:

Before Breeding

  • Transfer the dog into your registered ownership if you have not already done so.
  • Microchip your dog.
  • DNA profile your dog.
  • Obtain a Kennel Name.
  • Check that no breeding endorsement has been placed on your dog's records.
  • Ensure your dog is healthy and suitable (especially in temperament) to whelp a litter.
  • Carry out all relevant health checks e.g. hip scoring, elbow grading, eye testing and DNA testing.
  • Contact a breed society for more breed specific information.
  • Ensure that the health status of the proposed stud dog is satisfactory.
  • Talk to the breeder of your bitch, as they may be able to help you.
  • The NEW Kennel Club Healthcare Plan offers breeders optional cover for Breeding risks including fertility, pregnancy, whelping and litter before they are sold. For more information call 0800 369 90 90 or visit

Having your puppies implanted with a Petlog microchip means that they will be registered on the UK's largest database of microchipped pets. Registration on the Petlog database provides your puppies and their owners with security and peace of mind and lots of great benefits, including:

  • Petlog works with 12 of the 15 microchip suppliers in the UK.
  • A 24 hour, 7 day a week, 365 days a year dedicated UK-based lost and found line.
  • Online registration saving you time.
  • New owners can be registered on the database immediately.
  • The only microchip registration database that is ISO 9001 quality standards compliant.
  • Database managed by the Kennel Club.

Before the Whelping

  • Decide what whelping facilities, including bedding, are most appropriate.
  • Ensure that you have the necessary equipment to deal with the whelping.
  • Inform your vet when your bitch is due to whelp and keep their phone number to hand.

After Breeding

  • Register your litter with the Kennel Club - ideally in time for new owners to be given the registration certificate when they collect their puppy.
  • Advertise your puppies for sale on the Kennel Club Find a Puppy service
  • Provide a puppy contract with all puppies sold.
  • Ensure your puppies leave with 5  weeks free insurance for the new owners.
  • Microchip your puppies before they go to their new home with a Petlog microchip - find your local implanter on the Petlog website here.

Breeder Education Seminars

If you are a novice breeder and wish to learn more about dog breeding, why not attend one of our Breeder Education Seminars. A number of highly regarded professionals in the world of canine health have been confirmed including:

  • Ms Angelika Von Heimendahl, from the Veterinary Reproduction Service, who will be offering advice on "Male and Female infertility in canines";
  • Dr Tom Lewis from the Animal Health Trust who will be advising on "The science behind Mate Select and population genetics principles";
  • Professor Gary England, Professor of Comparative Veterinary Reproduction at the University of Nottingham, will be presenting talks on reproduction, fertility and artifical insemination. 

Anybody who has an interest in breeding dogs, from experienced breeders to first time breeders, will find something of interest at these seminars.  Sign up here now for only £25 for a whole day of breeder education and learning.

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"I decided to join the scheme because I wanted the confidence and the reassurance that I was doing all of the right things by my girls and the breed"

"As a novice breeder, it was reassuring to be able to tick the boxes and to have access to help and guidance."

"I was proud of my reputation as a breeder [...] to show the public that good breeders are serious when it comes to health and welfare of our dogs and puppies."

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Related Topics

Dog BreederDog BreedingSelling Puppies

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